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For Immediate Release
July 1, 2003
Contact: Chip Gavin
207-626-8408/chip.gavin@maine.gov

Maine unveils democracy plan for Fourth
Gwadosky invites public comment on state HAVA proposal

AUGUSTA - Secretary of State Dan Gwadosky this Fourth of July is inviting public input on Maine's plan for implementing the Help America Vote Act, a new federal law that promotes participation in that most basic act of democratic citizenship: the right and responsibility to vote.

"The birthday of our American democracy gives extra meaning to this initiative," said Gwadosky, who also is president of the National Association of Secretaries of State. "These changes represent the most important federal election law update in 30 years."

"The Fourth of July, particularly at a time when American men and women are in harm's way overseas, provides an opportunity to focus on this plan for our democracy," said Gwadosky.

Maine recently announced the availability of a preliminary plan that outlines how the state will meet the requirements of HAVA. The draft plan was developed by a statewide committee of stakeholders including legislators, democracy advocates, municipal officials, state election officials and others. The entire HAVA plan is available at www.maine.gov/sos, by calling the Secretary of State's office at 207.626.8409, or by writing to the Office of the Secretary of State, Attn: John Smith, 148 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0148. Public comment on the draft plan will be accepted through Monday, July 14, 2003. Comments may be mailed to the address above or sent via email to john.t.smith@maine.gov.

Maine routinely leads the nation in voter participation and, thanks to its strong election laws and practices, the state already meets several significant requirements of the new HAVA law. With the support of federal funding authorized by HAVA, Maine also will be making some changes.

Some of the key changes outlined in Maine's draft plan include: the creation of a new computerized, statewide voter registration list; the expansion of outreach programs and poll worker training; and, the addition of new voting equipment in polling places to ensure that people with disabilities can vote with the same access and privacy enjoyed by other individuals.